The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/tgmwc/judgment/j-defendants-bormann

Archive/File: imt/ tgmwc/judgment/j-defendants-bormann
Last-Modified: 1997/09/23

                           of the
               International Military Tribunal
                           For The
             Trial of German Major War Criminals

               His Majesty's Stationery Office
                                                  [Page 128]


Bormann is indicted on Counts One, Three, and Four. He
joined the National Socialist Party in 1925, was a member of
the Staff of the Supreme Command of the SA from 1928 to
1930, was in charge of the Aid Fund of the Party, and was
Reichsleiter from 1933 to 1945. From 1933 to 1941 he was
Chief of Staff in the Office of the Fuehrer's Deputy and,
after the flight of Hess to England, became Head of the
Party Chancellery on 12th May, 1941. On 12th April, 1943 he
became Secretary to the Fuehrer. He was political and
organisational head of the Volkssturm and a general in the

Crimes against Peace

Bormann in the beginning a minor Nazi, steadily rose to a
position of power and, particularly in the closing days, of
great influence over Hitler. He was active in the Party's
rise to power and even more so in the consolidation of that
power. He devoted much of his time to the persecution of the
churches and of the Jews within Germany.

The evidence does not show that Bormann knew of Hitler's
plans to prepare, initiate, or wage aggressive wars. He
attended none of the important conferences when Hitler
revealed piece by piece these plans for aggression. Nor can
knowledge be conclusively inferred from the positions he
held. It

                                                  [Page 129]

was only when he became head of the Party Chancellery in
1941, and later in 1943 Secretary to the Fuehrer when he
attended many of Hitler's conferences, that his positions
gave him the necessary access. Under the view stated
elsewhere which the Tribunal has taken of the conspiracy to
wage aggressive war, there is not sufficient evidence to
bring Bormann within the scope of Count One.

War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity

By decree of 29th May, 1941 Bormann took over the offices
and powers held by Hess; by the decree of 24th January, 1942
these powers were extended to give him control over all laws
and directives issued by Hitler. He was thus responsible for
laws and orders issued thereafter. On 1st December, 1942 all
Gaue became Reich defense districts, and the Party
Gauleiters responsible to Bormann were appointed Reich
Defense Commissioners. In effect, this made them the
administrators of the entire civilian war effort. This was
so not only in Germany, but also in those territories which
were incorporated into the Reich from the absorbed and
conquered territories.

Through this mechanism Bormann controlled the ruthless
exploitations of the subjected populace. His order of 12th
August, 1942 placed, all Party agencies at the disposal of
Himmler's program for forced resettlement and
denationalization of persons in the occupied countries.
Three weeks after the invasion of Russia, he attended the
conference of 16th July, , 1941 at Hitler's field quarters
with Goering, Rosenberg, and Keitel; Bormann's reports show
that there were discussed and developed detailed plans of
enslavement and annihilation of the population of these
territories. And on 8th May, 1942 he conferred with Hitler
and Rosenberg on the forced resettlement of Dutch personnel
in Latvia, the extermination program in Russia, and the
economic exploitation of the Eastern territories. He was
interested in the confiscation of art and other properties
in the East. His letter of 11th January, 1944 called for the
creation of a large scale organisation to withdraw
commodities from the occupied territories for the bombed-out
German populace.

Bormann was extremely active in the persecution of the Jews,
not only in Germany but also in the absorbed and conquered
countries. He took part in the discussions which led to the
removal of 60,000 Jews from Vienna to Poland in cooperation
with the SS and the Gestapo. He signed the decree of 31st
May, 1941 extending the Nuremberg Laws to the annexed
Eastern territories. In an order of 9th October, 1942 he
declared that the permanent elimination of Jews in Greater
German territory could no longer be solved by emigration,
but only by applying "ruthless force" in the special camps
in the East. On 1st July, 1943 he signed an ordinance
withdrawing Jews from the protection of the law courts and
placing them under the exclusive jurisdiction of Himmler's

Bormann was prominent in the slave labor program. The Party
leaders supervised slave labor matters in the respective
Gaue, including employment, conditions of work, feeding, and
housing. By his circular of 5th May, 1943 to the Leadership
Corps, distributed down to the level of Ortsgruppenleiter,
he issued directions regulating the treatment of foreign
workers, pointing out they were subject to SS control on
security problems, and ordered the previous mistreatment to
cease. A report of 4th September, 1942 relating to the
transfer of 500,000 female domestic workers from the East to
Germany showed that control was to be exercised by Sauckel,
Himmler, and Bormann. Sauckel by decree of 8 September
directed the Kreisleiter to supervise the distribution and
assignment of these female laborers.

Bormann also issued a series of orders to the Party leaders
dealing with the treatment of prisoners of war. On 5th
November, 1941 he prohibited decent burials for Russian
prisoners of war. On 25th November, 1943 he

                                                  [Page 130]

directed Gauleiter to report cases of lenient treatment of
prisoners of war. And on 13th September, 1944, he ordered
liaison between the Kreisleiter with the camp commandants in
determining the use to be made of prisoners of war for
forced labor. On 29th January, 1943, he transmitted to his
leaders OKW instructions allowing the use of firearms, and
corporal punishment on recalcitrant prisoners of war,
contrary to the Rules of Land Warfare. On 30th September,
1944, he signed a decree taking from the OKW jurisdiction
over prisoners of war and handing them over to Himmler and
the SS.

Bormann is responsible for the lynching of Allied airmen. On
30th May, 1944 he prohibited any police action or criminal
proceedings against persons who had taken part in the
lynching of Allied fliers. This was accompanied by a
Goebbels' propaganda campaign inciting the German people to
take action of this nature, and the conference of 6th June,
1944, where regulations for the application of lynching were

His Counsel, who has labored under difficulties, was unable
to refute this evidence. In the face of these documents,
which bear Bormann's signature, it is difficult to see how
he could do so even were the defendant present. Counsel has
argued that Bormann is dead and that the Tribunal should not
avail itself of Article 12 of the Charter, which gives it
the right to take proceedings in absentia. But the evidence
of death is not conclusive, and the Tribunal, as previously
stated, is determined to try him in absentia. If Bormann is
not dead and is later apprehended, the Control Council for
Germany may, under Article 29 of the Charter, consider any
facts in mitigation, and alter or reduce his sentence, if
deemed proper.

Conclusion: The Tribunal finds that Bormann is not guilty on
Count One, but is guilty on Counts Three and Four.

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.